by Kennedy Ross
Cold, Hard Football Facts AFC East Overlord (@FNscribeNY)
On a cold November night you can hear the frozen tears of the Dolphins hitting the ground as their playoff hopes go over Niagara Falls. In a very unattractive game marred by three-and-out's, the Dolphin's playoff hopes were all but mathematically dashed as they fall to the Bills 19-14.
Here are five things we learned on this frigid night:
1. Tannehill lost his cool in the cold. (Bills 19 - Dolphins 14)
This was another sub par game for Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. While it is clear the Dolphins need an upgrade at wide receiver, Tannehill was off the mark tonight. Tannehill completed 14 of 28 passes for 141 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
The nut kicker of these stats is that those two interceptions took place in the last five minutes of the game when Tannehill had two opportunities to take his team to the end zone.
The first interception was a beautiful diving catch by safety Jairus Byrd. The second, and much less impressive, was by linebacker Bryan Scott. That interception should never have been thrown.
The truth of the matter is Tannehill was off all night. His passes were to high, too wide, or too long. Again, Tannehill does not have a wealth of talent around him which is why he hasn't put up sparkling number this season. However, he has been sharper than this for the most part.
He has six more games to get sharper.
2. Bush a non factor yet again.
Dolphin's running back Reggie Bush was barely on the field tonight. Head coach Joe Philbin is really going to have to sit down and rethink his running philosophy. He should start with the philosophy of getting better linemen.
No matter who carried the ball for the Dolphins, they went nowhere. As a team Miami rushed for a paltry 60 yards on 24 carries. That's an abysmal 2.5 YPC. They would need Dan Marino back under center to have success with that type of output on the ground.
Bush wasn't even the game leader for his team. He rushed for a gaunt 20 yards. Back up Daniel Thomas was the big man tonight with a gaudy 33 yards.
Philbin is not helping his young quarterback with these sorry numbers. The Dolphins came into this game ranked 27th on our Offensive Hog Index. This game definitely didn't help elevate that position.
3. It's a good thing they had Spiller.
Unlike Ryan Tannehill, Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a running game to accompany his less than impressive night on the field. Fitzpatrick completed 17 of 27 passes for 168 yards. He threw no touchdowns but also no interceptions. Again, that's a good day for Fitzpatrick.
He was allowed to be a plain Jane because running back C.J. Spiller was keeping the Miami defense occupied all night. Spiller's normal running mate Fred Jackson didn't play due to injury. So Spiller had the night to himself for the most part.
Spiller ran for 91 yards and caught three passes for another 39 yards. It took him a while to get cranking because the Miami run defense is ranked No.5 on our D-Hog Index.
He never broke a really big run. His longest was for 20 yards. But he kept the defense honest, and he kept Fitzpatrick from getting in his own way.
4. Mario trying to become Super Mario.
Big ticket, free agent, Mario Williams had yet another not-stinking-up-the-joint game. Williams put together four tackles, one sack, and a couple of quarterback pressures. It still pales in comparison to the performance he put on in his former home of Houston a couple of weeks ago. But the Buffalo fans will take it.
It seems that that pesky wrist injury is completely or just about completely healed. That was the reported reason for hi poor performance for much of this season. If that is the case then Bills fans will have something to look forward to.
They certainly can't look forward to the playoffs. That ship has sailed. But perhaps Williams will give them hope for next season. After all, with Niagara in such close proximately, hope can be a life savor.
5. Now that the smoke has cleared . . .
. . . It's not even Thanksgiving and all divisional competition for the Patriots have been wiped out. It's like freaking Groundhog Day!
. . . Milk was probably coming out of the nose of Chad Johnson as he watched this game.
. . . The Jets will win an Emmy and a Cable Ace Award for Best Drama this year.